Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda

Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda has appealed to the striking doctors to resume work, stressing his readiness to meet their representatives to chart ways of resolving pending issues.

He insisted that it wasn’t right for the doctors to continue with the strike at the expense of patients.

The Premier made the remarks in Dar es Salaam yesterday during his meeting with editors where he talked about implementation of major issues facing the nation including the economy and the new constitution process.

“Sincerely speaking, the doctors should go back to assist patients…they should continue providing services while working on their problems,” he said.

He said that earlier the doctor’s representatives from the Medical Association of Tanzania (MAT) were to meet him on Tuesday evening but they didn’t appear.

He said they requested to meet him on Friday last week but he was in Arusha for official business, and thereafter asked Permanent Secretary Peniel Lyimo and Deputy Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Lucy Nkya to attend them.

“It is very unfortunate that they didn’t reach consensus. However, I was informed that they have chosen new representatives…I am now available and ready to meet them,” Pinda said.

Elaborating, he said the whole issue is due to lack of proper information, He said the Ministry was supposed to make the interns aware that allowances would be delayed as the government first pays salaries before disbursing funds for Other Charges (OC) which also cover their payments.

According to the Premier, the doctors have the right to demand their salaries since they don’t have other sources of income, but wondered why they had resolved to continue striking even after being paid the 800m/- which the government owed them as allowances for the months of November and December last year.

Meanwhile some doctors and other health workers yesterday continued with their strike disrupting services in some of the affected hospitals.

Doctor Steven Ulimboka a doctors’ interim committee chairman, confirmed that doctors in some of regional hospitals in Mbeya, Dodoma and Bugando were also on strike.

He stressed that they will not resume work until the government addressed their claims.

“We are going to continue with the strike until the government responds to our demands,” said Ulimboka.

Speaking in an interview yesterday in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Nurses Association (TANA) Muhimbili branch chairperson, Magesa Paul said that they have also called a meeting to discuss the fate of health workers.

He said they have written a letter to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare listing their claims which must be dealt immediately.

“We are giving the government until tomorrow (today) (11:00 am) to respond to our claims otherwise we will join the doctors,” he stressed.

Muhimbili Orthopaedic Institute (MOI) and Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI) were not operating yesterday, indicating that its workers were still on strike.

Doctors and other health workers were on Tuesday divided over a countrywide strike by the medical staff, with some reporting for duty and others clearly keeping their word by staying away.

The doctors decided to announce indefinite strike after the government failed to respond to their demands.

Source The Guardian

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